a much maligned dynamic religious movement which arose in the sixteenth century as a CALVINIST party within the CHURCH OF ENGLAND. They emphasized preaching, pastoral care and the REFORMATION of the CHURCH in terms of Biblical norms. Popular with the lower and middle classes, they emphasized education and the improvement of daily life through hard work and innovation. They were bitterly persecuted before and after the English Civil War causing many to flee to America where they played a significant role in shaping the main themes of American RELIGION. Favoring REPUBLICAN FORMS of government, they contributed to the development of modern DEMOCRACY and are credited by many historians with playing an important role in the rise of MODERN SCIENCE. As a result of aristocratic propaganda, which could not forgive them for the execution of King Charles I, the name "Puritan" came to be falsely identified with dour kill-joys.

Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

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